The Korean art of Bojagi

Sara Cook

We had a fascinating talk this month by Sara Cook, on the Korean art of Bojagi. Sara is a quilter, tutor and quilting judge, who was drawn to this specialist technique after seeing an exhibition of Korean textiles. She was already an experienced quilter, and this particular technique caught her imagination straight away – so much so that she booked a trip to the Korean Bojagi Forum in 2016 (in Korea) to study it first-hand. Since then she has developed her own interpretation of this ancient technique and has taught the subject all over the world.

Work by Sara Cook

Bojagi originates from the art of wrapping, both for practical/functional reasons and also for decorative reasons such as giving presents. It was used for every-day use such as food storage, sometimes waxed to seal the food and keep it fresh. It was also used to store personal belongings, since space was at a premium and homes were cleared of personal items when they weren’t in use. Thicker layered cloths were made for warmth, usually from silk as it is warm in winter and cool in summer. Functional items could also be very decorative, like the heavily stitched thumbles below (the second photo is a thimble-making kit that you can buy via Sara’s website)

Kit by Sara Cook

Sara spoke about the role of women in traditional Korean society. Women were expected to obey firstly their father, secondly their husband, and thirdly their son. Education was not permitted, and women could not leave the house without a male escort. When a woman married, she would leave her family home and would probably never see her family again, so the cloths made with her mother and sisters may have had particular significance in her new home. The giving of gifts was highly symbolic: for example ducks and geese, with blue and red to symbolise yin and yang.

By Sara Cook

Korean cultural traditions changed significantly since occupation and the war years. The position of women has improved, but alongside that there ha been concern about losing cultural traditions as society modernises. Korea introduced an innovative cultural heritage programme. People with  traditional skills are appointed as ‘national treasures’ and are given subsidised studios that enabled them to pass on their skills. This has led to techniques such as Bojagi being kept alive across the world. Sara has developed her own style of work using traditional Bojagi techniques. It involves a very particular and precise type of seam, and is worked to be hung against the light so that it’s translucent qualities are shown off to best advantage. You can see more of her work on her website at

New art from old treasures

Thanks to Chris for this description of Tuesday’s talk by Anne Kelly.

‘Today we had an interesting talk from textile artist and Author Anne Kelly. Anne is resident artist at Sussex Prairie gardens and lots of our members have been there to workshops with her. Anne brought lots of examples of her unique style of art using paper, hand and machine embroidery and reclaimed fabrics. She is a well travelled artist, originating in Canada and putting on shows in Australia, France and India to name but a few places. She likes to exhibit her work in places like hospitals and hospices and not just art galleries. Anne does lots of commissions and likes working on old maps which she treats with PVA glue and tissue paper before stitching onto them. She feels strongly about reusing old fabrics and putting them to new use. Lots of her work had bits of old embroidery stitched into it. She has an exhibition in Hackney coming up’.

The details of Anne’s exhibition in October are in the poster below. Scroll down below that for lots of photos of the work that Anne brought with her to show the group, and there are more lovely things to look at on her website

Tea and scones

Instead of the summer picnic that we had for our August meeting in the last two years, this year we decided to have a catered ‘posh tea’ instead. This turned out to be a stroke of luck, given the wind and rain that afternoon. Thankfully we weren’t holding on to gazebos that were trying to take off into the field! Valerie kindly organised the caterer, as well as finishing touches such as floral tea cups and table-cloths. Thanks to Margaret for providing floral table-decorations (despite the fact that she was on her way to catch a flight). We were treated to scones with jam and cream, a selection of sandwiches, several different cakes, and strawberries and cream. Naughty but nice! There was a little bit of stitching before tea was served, but when sticky things appeared the sewing was mainly put away. Here are a selection of photos of us stitching beforehand, and then enjoying the feast. If anyone is looking for a cake-maker or caterer, she is Janet Spoor at ‘Janet’s celebration Cakes and Catering’.

‘If I concentrate hard enough, maybe a scone will spontaneously jump onto my plate?

Dustbin lids and cabbage leaves…

Members enjoyed a fascinating and stimulating talk by textile artist Esther Collins at our June meeting. Esther is a local artist whose work is influenced by her interests in the History of Art, and also by her previous work in graphic design. Design influences include the natural environment, walking in the South Downs and local history.

I was so disappointed to miss Esther’s talk, and feedback from members has been very enthusiastic. Sadly I can’t add my own reflections on the talk as I usually do, but the talk generated appreciative comments from members, a couple of which I’ll add here: ‘I loved the leaf brooches and was inspired by the use of gold leaf in her decoupage work’ and ‘Esther produces beautiful work combining stitch, textiles and mixed media. I’ve never met any artist that gets inspiration from dustbin lids and cabbage leaves and then goes onto produce stunning pieces of creative work’. I’ll leave you with some images of Esther’s work taken by Maria Griggs and Margaret Borbone (thank you). Esther’s work can speak for itself! If you would like to see more of Esther’s work, and the courses she runs, you can go to her website at




Exhibition of Bojagi work

Sara Cook, a local quilter and quilting teacher, has an exhibition of Bojagi work coming up later this month at Colonnade House in Worthing. Bojagi is the art of Korean wrapping-cloths, which Sara makes into pieced and patched colourful wall-hangings which have a translucent quality. It’s from 20th to 25th June, open Tuesday – Sunday (Closed Mondays)  10.00 – 17.00.

The exhibition blurb says: ‘Her practice is influenced by the textile traditions of Bojagi, Korean wrapping cloths. The translucent qualities of Bojagi, seem to her a perfect medium to express these fleeting moments. The word Bo means wrapping happiness or fortune and was expressed using colour and symbolism. In her works she tries to achieve, Cheon-ji-in, which translates into sky, earth and the harmony of human coexistence. A traditional Korean value that chimes with the pressing need to find a way to live sustainably’. Well worth a visit.

Worthing Artists Open Houses

SCS members are taking part in several different venues in Worthing Artists Open Houses in June / July.
Venue 40: Jane Baskerville, Jane Robinson, Julia Brown (with Julia Berry and Alison Brown). Textile art, Embroidered Landscapes, Mixed Media, Ceramics, Print, Paintings, cards and gifts. Tea and cake in the garden in aid of Care for Veterans. Details above.
Venue 23: Alison Crosthwaite and others. Alison makes colourful hand-dyed and woven garments and decorated papers and cards. A wide range of different work from the other artists at the venue.
Venue 27: Coastal Threads, many of whom are also SCS members (17th and 18th June only). Textiles, Crochet and Mixed Media by members aged 8-85. See details in a previous post.
Hope you can visit as many of the venues as possible. More details at
If you are taking part in the WAOH and you’re not listed here, drop me a message and I will add you.

A year of stitching – a celebration

At our AGM this month, we enjoyed pop-up exhibitions by each of the three sub-groups: Traditional, Mixed Media and Thursday Workshop Group. We also saw work from the Introduction to Goldwork course, as well as other work that members have done over the year. Cobi also set up a table of Vivienne Proyer’s work for members to see.

The business of the AGM was conducted swiftly, with a report from Annette as outgoing Chair of the group, and a report by Valerie Robinson, Treasurer and Membership Secretary. Annette stood down from the committee, and the group gave grateful thanks for everything she has done for the group over the last few years. Other members of the committee all remained in post: Pam Reeve (Secretary), Valerie Robinson (Treasurer and Membership Secretary), Maria Griggs (Programme planning), Jane Robinson (Website, FB page and Publicity), Margaret Borbone (Newsletter and Fabric sales). Two new (or rather returning) committee members were elected: Jane Baskerville, and Anne Turner.

Scroll down to see work in the pop-up exhibitions. Let me know if you would like your name added to your work. Click on the photos to enlarge them.

Traditional Group




































































































Thursday Workshop Group























Mixed Media Group







































Goldwork Workshop







Other work by members
From the workshop with Julia Brown: unfortunately we didn’t ask people to bring these in, so if you would like to include yours here then please email it to me and I can add it.

























Viviane Proyer’s work































































And finally, it was a good chance to have a chat and catch up with other members. All in all, a celebration of a positive and busy year.